opinion

Getting Involved

Stephen Yagielowicz
For most people, their involvement in this or any other industry centers around a self-serving desire to generate a profit. There is nothing wrong with this, as it is the raison d'etre for "business" – and the cornerstone of capitalism. For some, however (and thankfully), there is an additional, higher calling, that compels them to work for the greater good...

Nearly every field of endeavor has both its share of supporters, and detractors. Some are driven by conviction, others by financial gain, many, by a combination of the two. Politics often plays a role as well, but in the end, politics are driven by conviction and profit, so it tends to be a subset of motivation rather than a 'direct' factor.

In our own industry, we see no end of detractors aligned against us. Whether as a result of "Holier than thou" Puritanical beliefs, political pandering to those who hold those beliefs, or as attorney J.D. Obenberger once put it, "Someone, somewhere, is laying awake at night worrying that somebody else is having a good time." Misery loves company, and the foes of free expression seem to be lonely indeed...

Our opponents are not unopposed, however. Groups such as the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) strive to provide a vocal and proactive counterpoint to the information, and mis-information, spread by the enemies of freedom.

Freedom carries with it a responsibility, however, for those who would partake of it, to be both worthy of it, and vigilant in its guardianship. In other words, while many of us demand it, we must realize that to have it, we must both deserve it, and protect it.

For the adult industry, this means compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the law, as well as playing an active role in counterbalancing the agendas of those forces that would dictate what material is, and is not, acceptable content for consenting adults to view and enjoy in the privacy of their own homes.

For the average participant in our industry, supporting organizations such as FSC is one way in which our resources may be leveraged and our voices heard in what is too often a one-sided debate. Supporting the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), the organization that helps the adult site industry make a difference in the battle against child pornography, is another important step in both combatting one of society's biggest problems while demonstrating that most producers or distributors of adult entertainment do not lurk around school yards wearing long overcoats...

"I realize that many people in the industry are still unaware of the ASACP mission, its child pornography reporting hotline, its Approved Member program, and its expanded mission of 'Protecting Your Business By Protecting Children.' Therefore, one of the 2005 goals is to be a stronger presence in the industry," said ASACP Executive Director, Joan Irvine.

In addition to its hotline, ASACP provides a self-regulatory vehicle for its members that promotes the protection of children through responsible, professional business practices, and has introduced a compliance system to monitor Approved Members similar to the Better Business Bureau and Truste.org, which proves to the government and surfers that the industry is interested in self-regulation. This system provides online validation of its Approved Members and Sponsors, and verifies compliance with the ASACP Code of Ethics by spidering for unacceptable terms which denote CP.

If you are one of the more than 5,700 sites that take a stand against child pornography by displaying the ASACP logo but are not a Sponsor or a recently signed-up Approved Member or Supporter, you can take advantage of the new benefits while supporting our industry by visiting the ASACP website and joining today. You can also support the FSC's mission by visiting its website.

Regardless of the organizations that you support or are affiliated with, the responsibility for the longevity of any enterprise comes down to the business practices of its principals and participants. In the end, you are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. Go out and get involved, and become part of the solution – it's the right choice to make!

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